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News Archive

January 2014

UK safety charity RoSPA’s response to report of the Triennial Review of the Health and Safety Executive

RoSPA has welcomed the findings of a government review which has confirmed the case for preserving the role of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in preventing work-related death, injury and ill health.

Having submitted evidence to the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Triennial Review of the Health and Safety Executive, led by Martin Temple, chair of the EEF, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is pleased that its conclusions and recommendations mirror many of the key points which the charity included in its own evidence.

RoSPA is particularly in favour of maintaining the HSE, not only as a national enforcement agency, but as the lead body for promoting health safety research, developing standards and guidance, and working with other partners to raise awareness and develop the skills and competences needed to prevent accidents and to safeguard health.

Roger Bibbings, RoSPA’s occupational safety adviser, said: “We are very pleased that the review has come down unequivocally in favour of maintaining the HSE as a non-departmental public body, working at arm’s length from ministers, to regulate work-related health and safety risks to workers and the wider community.

“Our impression is that by listening carefully to representatives of industry and other stakeholders, Temple and his team have not only confirmed the case for preserving the role of the HSE as the lead regulator in the health and safety field, but have also made a number of important recommendations for improving its efficiency and effectiveness.”

The most notable conclusions include:

RoSPA will continue to play its part in helping to take the discussion forward via its National Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC), focusing on what needs to be done to implement the review’s recommendations. In particular, RoSPA is keen to discuss options for alternative funding streams to support the HSE’s work, and Temple’s proposals for developing the HSE’s commercial activities in land-use planning and in delivering audits for large organisations. Consideration will also be given towards ensuring such activities do not conflict with the HSE’s regulatory independence or compete with similar services currently offered by other providers.

The review can be accessed at www.gov.uk/government/publications/triennial-review-report-health-and-safety-executive-2014

A load off your body and mind in 2014

Could this be the year to a fitter, slimmer and healthier you? Our modern way of life is leading to expanding waistlines across the country: out of every 10 men or women in the UK, four are overweight and another two are obese. As part of National Obesity Awareness Week (13-19 January 2014), Heart Research UK is urging people to face up to the oversize issue, lose those extra pounds and get fitter and healthier in 2014. Obesity is not good news: it is linked to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, vitamin D deficiency, respiratory problems and poor mental health.

Yes, it is easier to be overweight and obese nowadays: food has become a high calorie entertainment, it’s easier to be inactive and we often seem stressed and poor at managing our time in a healthy way. But we can still tackle our ‘obesogenic’ lifestyles and here are some ideas to help you make small, important changes that will get you on the right road.

Healthier habits

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for stalling or reversing the tide of weight gain overnight but a great place to start is to identify and change those habits that quietly lead to you eating more energy than you expend.

Could you walk rather than take the car or bus? How about cutting down on trips to the pub or eating fewer take-aways that have become routine? Could you take up a new active hobby that takes you away from endless TV viewing? What about bringing those favourite cookery programmes into your kitchen so you are a master at rustling up healthy, nutritious meals? And why not pick up again what’s worked for you in the past and gave you great health benefits? What’s in your neighbourhood, at home and at work that could help you to get fitter and eat and sleep better?

Make each little mouthful count

As the saying goes it’s all about quality not quantity, so make those portion sizes smaller but packed with nutrients that boost your body rather than drain it.

Make your new way of life for 2014 one that’s based on a heart-healthy diet in sensible portions that’s matched with an active lifestyle that builds up your cardiovascular fitness. You will reap the rewards of a fitter, healthier body and heart now and beyond.

For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK | Tel: +44 (0)113 297 6206 | email lifestyle@heartresearch.org.uk

Swedish 2022 Olympics Bid Sets New Standard for Worker Protections

The landmark agreement to protect workers’ rights for Stockholm’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics has been welcomed by the International Trade Union Confederation – ITUC as setting a benchmark for all global sporting events. The agreement, between the Swedish Olympic Committee and national trade union centre LO-Sweden, seeks to stop the violations of workers’ rights and worker-exploitation which continue to plague Olympics, football World Cup and other such events.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said “The contrast between this agreement and the deadly exploitation of migrant workers for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup could not be greater. We have written to IOC President Thomas Bach today to call on the IOC to meet at least the Swedish standard for all Olympics. FIFA and other global sporting bodies would do well to follow suit as should all those bidding to host events.”

The agreement is intended to apply to “companies that produce facilities, equipment, clothes and supply services for the Olympic Games in Stockholm” to ensure respect for the International Labour Organisation’s core labour standards which guarantee union organising and collective bargaining rights, non-discrimination and freedom from forced labour and child labour. It also calls for compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Companies are to be encouraged to sign global agreements with the Global Union Federations in their sectors to ensure good conditions for workers throughout the production chain.

Pressure is mounting on global sporting bodies to address worker’s rights issues, with serious problems reported by Brazilian and Russian trade unions over World Cup and Olympics preparations.

“Some good steps were taken by the London Olympics organisers, and we are calling on the IOC and its sporting counterparts to build on that legacy. However, people are still paying with their lives as organisers rush to build stadiums on time, and poverty wages and cruel exploitation are the daily realities for factory workers producing merchandise for global brands and events,” said Burrow.

To read the letter to IOC President Bach: www.ituc-csi.org/stockholm-bid-agreement

The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 161 countries and territories and has 325 national affiliates.

Follow us on the web: www.ituc-csi.org and https://www.youtube.com/user/ITUCCSI

New ASFP Code of Practice

Code of Practice for the installation and inspection of fire stopping systems in buildings: Linear joint seals, penetration seals, small cavity barriers

Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) has published a Code of practice for the installation and inspection of fire stopping systems in buildings: Linear joint seals, penetration seals, small cavity barriers which will assist installers and others involved in the installation and inspection of fire stopping systems in buildings.

The aim of the Code is to ensure that installed fire stopping systems will perform as required in the event of fire and will continue to do so for a reasonable period during the life time of the building.

The Code is freely downloaded at http://asfp.associationhouse.org.uk/default.php?cmd=210&doc_category=16

Rates of new lung cancer cases drop in U.S. men and women

CDC report finds fastest drop in adults aged 35-44 years

Tobacco control efforts are having a major impact on Americans’ health, a new analysis of lung-cancer data suggests. The rate of new lung cancer cases decreased among men and women in the United States from 2005 to 2009, according to a recent US report in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The study also found that lung cancer incidence rates went down 2.6 percent per year among men, from 87 to 78 cases per 100,000 men and 1.1 percent per year among women, from 57 to 54 cases per 100,000 women.

The fastest drop was among adults aged 35-44 years, decreasing 6.5 percent per year among men and 5.8 percent per year among women. Lung cancer incidence rates decreased more rapidly among men than among women in all age groups. Among adults aged 35-44 years, men had slightly lower rates of lung cancer incidence than women.

“These dramatic declines in the number of young adults with lung cancer show that tobacco prevention and control programs work – when they are applied,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among both men and women in the United States. Most lung cancers are attributable to cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke. Because smoking behaviours among women are now similar to those among men, women are now experiencing the same risk of lung cancer as men.

“While it is encouraging that lung cancer incidence rates are dropping in the United States, one preventable cancer is one too many,” Dr. Frieden said. “Implementation of tobacco control strategies is needed to reduce smoking prevalence and the lung cancer it causes among men and women.”

www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0109-lung-cancer.html

Event – Indoor Climate and Health: Building dampness and use of Energy in Buildings

31 March - 4 April 2014, Krusenberg Herrgård, Uppsala, Sweden

Course leader: Dan Norbäck, Associate professor, Uppsala University, Sweden

The indoor environment is the environment where we spend more than 90% of our time, at home, at work or during transport. More than half of the workforce in modern society works in non-industrial workplaces such as schools, offices, day care centre, and hospitals.

Objectives

The intention is to provide the best state-of- the-art knowledge concerning risk assessment and management of indoor climate problems, with a focus on technical aspects as well as health aspects of energy use in buildings and building dampness.

The course will present multidisciplinary state-of-the-art knowledge with contributions from occupational health and safety professionals, industrial hygienists, microbiologists, building engineers, HVAC engineers, public health officers and indoor environment scientists.

Contact: Katja Pekkarinen, NIVA, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland | Email: katja.pekkarinen@ttl.fi | Mobile: +358438241698 | www.niva.org/courses

Event – 1st International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health: Call for Abstracts Now Open

The NIOSH Total Worker Health Program announces that abstracts are now being accepted for the International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health, which will take place 6-8 October 2014 at the Natcher Conference Center on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, MD, USA.

This symposium will explore research, practices, programs and policies that advance the overall health, safety, and well-being of workers through the integration of health protection and health promotion. This effort seeks to advance the tenets of Total Worker Health. The symposium builds upon successful past meetings of the 2004 NIOSH Steps to a Healthier US Workforce Conference and the 2007 NIOSH WorkLife National Symposium.

We are soliciting proposals for posters, pre- and post-symposium workshops, plenary sessions and two types of concurrent sessions: scientific paper or practice/intervention sessions and symposia sessions. The deadline for abstract submission is 24 March 2014. We anticipate providing notification to all persons selected for a presentation no later than 1 June 2014 to allow adequate time for presentation finalization and travel planning.

Additional information about the forthcoming Symposium and the Call for Abstracts can be found at www.eagleson.org/conferences

Triennial Review Report: UK Health and Safety Executive

An independent review of the function, form and governance of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have published the long awaited outcome of the Triennial Review of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) by Martin Temple.

From an initial reading of Mr Temple’s conclusions and recommendations the review seems very positive: supporting the continuation of HSE’s functions; arguing for an end to ‘Fee for Intervention’ and closer links with other Departments and with Local Authorities and making suggestions for changes to HSE’s approach to performance measurement and governance. He comes out against privatisation of the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) but makes suggestions for developing a more commercial approach to some of HSE’s activities such as advice in land use planning and in delivering audits for organisations with developed H&S management systems.

Martin Temple and his team have carried out a thorough and thoughtful review and that his conclusions concerning the need to preserve and strengthen the role of the Health and Safety Executive as the lead regulator in this field are to be very much welcomed.

The review can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/triennial-review-report-health-and-safety-executive-2014

Use OSH UPDATE + FIRE for quality health, safety and fire information in 2014!

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Good engineering design can cut deaths

The Inter-Institutional Group on Health and Safety (IIG) have said that promoting good engineering design can help cut the death, injury and disease toll in Britain’s workplaces, and enhance public safety. The IIG wants the UK to do more to embrace good engineering and design as the foundation of all major industrial projects. It says it needs to be at the heart of socially responsible business and government, and a solution to health and safety risk management challenges. High profile projects cited in the policy paper, such as the London Olympics Velodrome, are given as good examples of safely designed engineering.

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones said: “The impact of failures in health and safety across all sectors in the UK are very considerable, in both human and financial terms. But engineering can deliver many of the solutions for keeping work safe, healthy, profitable and sustainable.

There needs to be a greater appreciation of the business case for the early adoption of engineering solutions in occupational safety and health and the huge potential benefits to the economy and society.” Sir John Parker GBE FREng, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said “It is an essential purpose of engineering to avert failures and to make continuous improvements that protect the safety and welfare of all of our employees and the wider public. The business case for health and safety is well articulated in the paper that the Inter-Institutional Group on Health and Safety has published today and I welcome it.”

Other countries may wish to follow!

The business case for engineering in health and safety

Monitor progress on the implementation of the SVHC Roadmap on ECHA’s website

ECHA’s website now contains a designated section giving stakeholders and the general public regularly updated information on how the Agency, the European Commission and the EU Member States plan to implement the SVHC Roadmap to 2020. This Roadmap aims to have all relevant substances of very high concern (SVHCs) included in the Candidate List by 2020.

The SVHC Roadmap 2020 focuses on finding new potentially relevant substances of very high concern (SVHC) with CMR, sensitising, PBT/vPvB and/or endocrine disrupting properties. The best regulatory risk management option should then be identified to manage their risks, using either REACH or CLP (authorisation, restriction or harmonised classification and labelling), or another piece of legislation. Substance evaluation may also be needed to clarify the concern before regulatory risk management action is taken.

Information about the roadmap and its practical implementation plan, including information on the work of four substance specific groups, has now been published on ECHA’s website. Later, as the implementation of the roadmap progresses, more information on the activities concerning particular substances will also be made available.

“Transparency is one of the cornerstones of the implementation of the roadmap. Publicly available information will help stakeholders to understand the roadmap’s objectives, scope and practical implementation, including timelines. It will also increase the predictability on what risk management measures regulatory authorities recommend for substances with certain hazard/fate and use profiles,” says Geert Dancet, ECHA’s Executive Director.

The web pages will be updated regularly.

PBT: Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic; vPvB: Very persistent and very bioaccumulative; CMR: Carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction

Substances of potential concern

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published a new guidance for the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) on human health risk assessment, Volume III, Part B

The guidance has been developed by ECHA and the Member State competent authorities taking into account the elements described in the Technical Notes for Guidance for biocides under the former legislation – the Biocidal Products Directive (BPD) – as well as the Technical Guidance on hazard assessment developed for REACH implementation and the guidance on the CLP Regulation.

This guidance provides technical advice on how to perform the hazard and exposure assessment and risk characterisation for biocidal active substances and products with respect to human health risk assessment.

This guidance will form part of the new biocides guidance structure for the BPR. Other Part B guidance documents are under development, such as Part B for Volume IV (Environment) which is foreseen for publication in 2014.

Further information: https://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/echa-publishes-a-new-guidance-document-concerning-biocides

Two new Guidance in a Nutshell documents: for downstream users and on the compilation of safety data sheets

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published on its website two new Guidance in a Nutshell documents: Guidance in a Nutshell for downstream users and Guidance in a Nutshell on the compilation of safety data sheets (SDSs), following the update of the corresponding parent Guidance documents on the same subjects. The nutshell documents are now available on the ECHA website in 23 EU languages.

The new Guidance in a Nutshell for downstream users aims to introduce the obligations for downstream users according to REACH in simple and concise terms. It explains in brief how to identify the downstream user’s roles and illustrates the different circumstances that the downstream user may encounter. The document explains the obligations to be fulfilled and the actions which a downstream user can choose to take according to his situation. In particular, principles and requirements concerning communication of information on mixtures are outlined.

The new Guidance in a Nutshell on the compilation of safety data sheets (SDSs) provides an overview of the obligations related to the SDSs as foreseen by Article 31 and Annex II of REACH. The document describes in simple terms the main principles to be applied in the compilation of SDSs and the obligations that suppliers of substances and mixtures have to fulfil when providing an SDS to their customers.

Further information: https://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/two-new-guidance-in-a-nutshell-documents

Fact sheet explaining toll manufacturer responsibilities under REACH

ECHA has published a new fact sheet explaining the concept of toll manufacturers and the responsibilities that they may have under the REACH Regulation.

A toll manufacturer is normally understood to be a company providing manufacturing services (for a fee) to another company, on the basis of a contract for provision of those services. Although the REACH Regulation does not have specific provisions on toll manufacturing, toll manufacturers may have obligations under the Regulation.

The new fact sheet briefly describes relevant REACH requirements that may apply to toll manufacturers. It also gives some initial advice on how compliance may be facilitated for toll manufacturers and for companies who are contracting others to toll manufacture on their behalf.

Further information: https://echa.europa.eu/view-article/-/journal_content/title/fact-sheet-explaining-toll-manufacturer-responsibilities-under-reach

This report presents an update to the Agency´s previous research on gender issues at work, which found that inequality both inside and outside the workplace can have an effect on the health and safety of women at work.

It provides a policy perspective and is meant to contribute to the task outlined by the European strategy on health and safety at work for EU-OSHA’s European Risk Observatory, “examining the specific challenges in terms of health and safety posed by the more extensive integration of women in the labour market”.

It provides a statistical overview of the trends in employment and working conditions, hazard exposure and work-related accidents and health problems for women at work. It explores selected issues (combined exposures, occupational cancer, access to rehabilitation, women and informal work, and “emerging” female professions such as home care and domestic work). The research highlights the type of work carried out by women, issues faced by younger and older women, the growth of the service sector, violence and harassment, and increasingly diversified working time patterns as major risk factors.

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
New risks and trends in the safety and health of women at work report
Published 20 December 2013

https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/reports/new-risks-and-trends-in-the-safety-and-health-of-women-at-work/view

US NIOSH new guidance Preventing Falls through the Design of Roof Parapets

The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has produced a new guidance for workers who are exposed to risks from falls during construction, operation, maintenance, and demolition of buildings.

Parapets are the parts of the wall assembly that extend above the roof [Rajendran and Gambatese 2013] and can prevent falls from low-sloped (flat) roofs. Other design features that can prevent falls include using guardrail systems and permanent anchor points (for use with personal fall arrest systems and lifelines).

www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2014-108